I had a moment of grace this morning, a moment of absolute clarity and beauty. I was driving the kids to school, following this bright yellow school bus. For about 4 fleeting seconds it all made complete sense: the bus, the hazy blue sky and wispy clouds, the suburban houses in early morning light… The image was there for the taking but I didn’t have a camera and it didn’t matter. I felt it. A giant print hanging across my windshield, perfectly realized and processed.

I saw the movie Howl last week. At some point Ginsberg — played by James Franco — describes how poems begin, how they’re borne of this very physical, visceral longing in the pit of the stomach and rise slowly, becoming a scream that needs to get out, no matter what. I understand this completely; I feel the same way about photography.

These past few days I’ve been doing nothing but organizing and processing thousands of images, something I do once a year for my kid’s daycare centre. I don’t usually do that kind of work and honestly I couldn’t… It’s the tediousness but also the fact that I can’t work based on the least amount of time spent on each shot. I can’t put the camera on a tripod, say “smile!” and ask the next kid to sit — or stand next to a fake tree or something. I don’t do assembly lines. So I spend time with each child, and then I spend time editing the shots. Doing this as my day job would either bankrupt me or make me settle for less and send me into some form of deep depression.

All of this just to say I hadn’t touched the camera this week; and was reeling from the burning effects of the craving. So before glueing my face to the screen yet again, I stepped outside — that school bus print still hovering in my mind. I didn’t care what I shot… I just needed to press my eye against the camera, to frame that infinitely small portion of reality and make it my own.

And just to thumb my nose at the world, I used my good old X100.


Patrick La Roque

laROQUE, 311 Lorncliff, Otterburn Park, Canada